Journal article

The 2019/2020 mega-fires exposed Australian ecosystems to an unprecedented extent of high-severity fire

Luke Collins, Ross A Bradstock, Hamish Clarke, Michael F Clarke, Rachael H Nolan, Trent D Penman



Extreme fire seasons characterised by very large 'mega-fires' have demonstrably increased area burnt across forested regions globally. However, the effect of extreme fire seasons on fire severity, a measure of fire impacts on ecosystems, remains unclear. Very large wildfires burnt an unprecedented area of temperate forest, woodland and shrubland across south-eastern Australia in 2019/2020, providing an opportunity to examine the impact of extreme fires on fire severity patterns. We developed an atlas of wildfire severity across south-eastern Australia between 1988 and 2020 to test (a) whether the 2019/2020 fire season was more severe than previous fire seasons, and (b) if the proportion of h..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

L C was supported by Post-doctoral Fellowships at La Trobe University and Arthur Rylah Institute, and the University of Melbourne. We thank Dr Rebecca Gibson for compiling the vegetation mapping and assisting with validation of fire severity mapping in New South Wales. We thank Dr Ashley Sparrow for providing feedback on an earlier draft of the manuscript.